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Hanging - Wall hanging

Wall hanging

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Coromandel Coast (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1640-1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cotton, mordant-dyed and resist-dyed

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This intriguing hanging is an important early example of the complex techniques of dyeing with resists and mordants that came to be known in the West by the anglicised term 'chintz'. It is, however, unclear whether this piece was actually made under western patronage or simply uses western figures as part of its design. The outer border, which was added in the 18th century, is certainly of the type made for the western market.

The main part of the hanging is divided into two main sections. The upper part shows two men and two youths in Persian dress (although their pale complexions and blue eyes are incongruous), while the lower half shows two European, probably Dutch, men at a table, accompanied by a striped dog and two women in costumes that combine Indian and western elements. A Venetian glass sweetmeat dish is seen standing on the floor, and a European ribbed glass can be identified on the table. Other vessels are in both Chinese and Indo-Persian styles. The figures in the small niches surrounding the main part of the hanging are in Indian dress, and the architectural surroundings of the piece suggest an Indian palace.

A companion piece with similar figures is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Physical description

Large hanging of painted and dyed cotton (chintz), depicting figures in Persian and European dress, surrounded by small niches containing figures mainly in Indian dress. There is an added border of later (18th-century) chintz fabric.

Place of Origin

Coromandel Coast (made)


ca. 1640-1650 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cotton, mordant-dyed and resist-dyed


Length: 259 cm, Width: 152 cm

Descriptive line

Wall hanging depicting figures in Persian and European dress, cotton, mordant-dyed and resist-dyed, Coromandel Coast, South-East India, ca. 1640-50, with 18th century border

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

M.Gittinger, 'Master Dyers to the World. Technique and trade in early Indian dyed cotton textiles', Washington, 1982, cat.no.103.
Guy, J., and Swallow, D., (eds). ‘Arts of India: 1550-1900’. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990. ISBN 1851770224., p.161, pl.138
p. 75
Ayers, J. Oriental Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1983, ISBN 0-85667-120-7
p.64, pl. 2
Irwin, John and Katherine Brett, Origins of Chintz, London, 1970. With a catalogue of Indo-European cotton-paintings in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. ISBN 112900534.
Crill, Rosemary, Arts of Asia, vol. 45, no. 5, September - October 2015, "The Fabric of India" Exhibition, p.76, pl. 22.
pp. 274-5, cat. no. 164.
Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700 : opulence and fantasy / Navina Najat Haidar and Marika Sardar ; with contributions by John Robert Alderman [and 14 others]. Number: 9781588395665 (Metropolitan Museum of Art), 1588395669 (Metropolitan Museum of Art), 9780300211108 (Yale University Press), 0300211104 (Yale University Press)
pp. 215-216, cat. no. 1028
The art of India and Pakistan, a commemorative catalogue of the exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1947-8. Edited by Sir Leigh Ashton. London: Faber and Faber, [1950]
fig. 22
Irwin, John, C., A Brief Guide to Indian Art, H.M.S.O. 1962
fig. 22p. 17
Irwin, John; Indian Art: Victoria & Albert Museum departmental guide, H.M.S.O. ISBN 0 905209117, 1978

Labels and date


This enigmatic hanging shows two men and boys in Persian dress, with Europeans in the lower panel. Depictions of European figures on textiles made for Indian patrons were rare in the 1640s but would become more common in the following century. Two related pieces with Indian men and women survive. All were probably hung together to create a dramatic gallery of human figures.

Cotton, hand-drawn and dyed, with later borders
Coromandel Coast, 1640-50
V&A: 687-1898 [03/10/2015-10/01/2016]

Production Note

Probably made in the Madras-Pulicat region of the Coromandel Coast, South-east India.








South & South East Asia Collection

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